Full RiteCare© summer schedule will enhance children's literacy and language skills

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Connecting through communication will be the focus of a series of camps and clinics hosted this summer by the Scottish Rite and Radford's Department of Communication Science and Disorders.

In June, Radford’s Department of Communications Science and Disorders (COSD) and the Scottish Rite Foundation will host a series of clinics to help children enhance their communication and literacy skills.

For the first time, the COSD faculty and staff will host satellite events at Christiansburg Middle School. CMS will host a reading enrichment camp and a program for high-functioning autistic middle school children to develop social skills and help them interact and converse successfully. 

The social skills program is a the result of a successful pilot program by COSD Chair Diane Millar, Christiansburg Middle School Guidance Counselor Cindy Martin and two first-year COSD graduate students-Lauren Cobb and Nicole Maser.   Begun in January and held at CMS, the semester-long series of two-hour weekly sessions gave Maser and Cobb practical experiences in working with young people on the autism spectrum.

“It was a humbling experience to go into the field and see what it is like in their world,” said Cobb. “At that age it is so important to have friends and we worked to help them along the road to building confidence in their abilities.”

Maser added: “The experience was especially valuable.  I want to work in the school setting and as professionals; we want to help our clients achieve the best quality of life they can. It is a different setting in the school. We got to take our skills into the kids’ natural environment and observe how they behave differently than when we see them in a our normal Speech-Hearing-Language clinic setting.“

This summer, Radford faculty and graduate student clinicians will work with almost 60 clients who have applied to participate in the five programs. Campers attend for free, courtesy of the Virginia Orient of the Scottish Rite and the Scottish Rite Foundation.

"Thanks to the Scottish Rite Masons of Virginia, we have a wonderful opportunity to serve children from across the region and give our students and future practitioners an intensive clinical opportunity to develop their skills and prepare for their upcoming on-site clinical placements." said Millar.

The 2017 RiteCare© events at Radford are:

  • The Language and Literacy Summer Institute, June 5-15.  Led by COSD Associate Professor Elizabeth Lanter, the Institute will support the academic achievement of children from preschool to middle school by focusing on oral and written language skills, such as story re-telling, sound awareness, letter-sound correspondence, comprehension and written expression.
  • The Preschool Language Lab (PLL), June 5-29.  The PLL is a program for toddlers and pre-school-aged children with identified communication disorders or who are at risk of failing to develop strong communication skills that features peer interaction and music therapy activities. Organized by Corey Cassidy, WCHHS associate dean and associate COSD professor, and Music Therapist Angela Obst, the PLL is an interprofessional collaboration between COSD student-clinicians and music therapy students.
  • The Radford Adventure Language and Literacy (ALL) Camp, June 12-29.  Led by COSD Instructor Karen Arndt, the ALL Camp is a STEM-focused camp for 12 school-aged children to develop literacy skills through small-group and individual work, under the auspices of COSD faculty and student clinicians.

The 2017 Rite Care satellite programs at Christiansburg Middle Schools are:

  • Summer Enrichment Camp – June 12 – 29.  The camp, organized by COSD Assistant Professor Karen Davis engages students in language-based group activities to become active learners and improve reading comprehension and written language skills.
  • Social Skills Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder – June 12-29.  Middle schoolers with autism spectrum disorders will sharpen social communication skills and improved peer interactions under the tutelage of Millar and a team of Radford student-clinicians.

Five RU COSD graduate students will receive Scottish Rite Summer Fellowships for the 2017 camp and clinic season:

  • Megan Bell
  • Stephanie Leirer
  • Libby Scale
  • Jenni Williams
  • Amy Weldon
  • Samantha Logue

The RiteCare© clinics will culminate with a luncheon and program June 22, to honor the Scottish Rite Masons, partners with Radford University since 1995 in support of the communication and language development camps and clinics.

In addition to those who receive fellowships from the Scottish Rite Foundation to participate in the RiteCare Summer Clinics, the Scottish Rite Foundation awards additional fellowships in the fall to Radford students who have committed to advancing knowledge of childhood language disorders and positioned themselves to work with children in Virginia with such challenges.

Jun 8, 2017
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5124